It seems that I was recently called a racist by school board member Jim Kelly, whose remarks were seconded by Carol Normandin, Peggy Wolff and Jan Vickers. They did not call me a racist by name—that would have left them open to slander. But it was me they were talking about. That’s what people do now when facts elude them or are inconvenient to their point of view—vilify the speaker with the grossest form of insult, the racist slur. This shuts down the conversation and they never have to answer the questions.
Mr. Kelly should not be calling people racist having been accused of racism at Menlo College when he was president. The San Mateo County Times reported in 2013 that Menlo College, under Mr. Kelly’s direction, was sued for racial discrimination, retaliation and unfair business practices. The lawsuit claimed that Mr. Kelly said Filipinos can be “more easily instructed and loyal than other employees.” The suit didn’t go to trial—it was settled under sealed terms rather than a public determination that he had not practiced workplace discrimination based on racial stereotyping.
I spoke at the July 16 school board meeting and questioned why the district was spending money translating two puff stories into Spanish for their glossy PR pamphlet instead of spending money on reinstating videotaping their meetings. I asked how many children that affects and said if students want to be successful in America, they need to speak English. My Latina daughter-in-law tells me all the time that she wishes her English was better. My grandchildren will be of Latin descent. My father taught ESL in San Diego when he retired. To call me a racist for questioning why they spent money recklessly instead of on what the community wants is absurd and, in my opinion, hate speech.
Michèle Monda, Laguna Beach